Made with tender, thinly-sliced steak and ribbons of wide rice noodles, this pan-fried Beef Chow Fun recipe is easy to make and loaded with flavor! Sesame, garlic, and ginger hit all the right notes.
Easy Stir-Fried Beef Chow Fun (Steak and Noodles)
A popular dish in Cantonese restaurants, Beef Chow Fun is a very simple dish that features big, bold rice noodles in a savory brown sauce. Like pad thai, these rice noodles soak up all of the flavors, delivering a totally slurp-worthy meal that you’ll absolutely love! Tender slices of flank steak add protein and texture, with broccoli florets and bean sprouts added for extra nutrition.
This is most commonly a dish you’d order as takeout, but it’s actually pretty simple to make a homemade version, using ingredients you can find at any large grocer or at Asian markets. This recipe will show you how to do it, so get ready to meet your new favorite stir-fry! 🥢
What Is the Difference Between Chow Mein and Chow Fun?
Chow mein is a little more well-known than chow fun, but the two noodle dishes are pretty similar. The main difference is in the type of noodle that is used. Chow mein noodles are wheat-based, and include eggs. Chow fun noodles are rice-based, and are usually wide and flat, like fettuccine.
Fresh noodles are typically used in chow fun dishes, but you can also soak and use dried rice noodles.
The List of Ingredients
So what will you need to make your own beef chow fun at home? Let’s take a look! There are three main components here: steak, stir-fry, and sauce. Be sure to scroll down to the recipe card for specific amounts.
For the Steak
- Steak: Cut a pound of flank steak into ⅛-inch strips, against the grain, for maximum tenderness.
- Soy Sauce: I like to use low-sodium, but regular is fine, too. If you don’t want to use soy sauce, you can substitute tamari or coconut aminos.
- Wine: Just a splash of Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry).
- Sesame Oil: This handy condiment gives the beef that classic “takeout” taste.
- Cornstarch: Potato starch or tapioca starch is also fine.
For the Stir Fry
- Broccoli: Bite-size broccoli florets cook up easily, and add a boost of color and texture.
- Noodles: Fresh rice noodles aren’t always easy to find, so I used wide dry rice noodles (sa-ho fun) instead. But if you have access to fresh, by all means, use them!
- Oil: You’ll need vegetable oil for stir-frying and sesame oil for flavoring.
- Ginger: Minced fresh ginger is best, but powdered will work if that’s all you have.
- Garlic: Press or mince a few garlic cloves.
- Onion: The onion should be thinly sliced.
- Bean Sprouts: Mung bean sprouts taste amazing in this dish! If you can’t find good-quality sprouts near you, you can leave these out, or finely shred another veggie, like cabbage, for a little pop of freshness.
- Green Onions: Slice up the green onions, the white and green parts.
For the Stir Fry Sauce
- Soy Sauce: Again, you can use your favorite soy sauce or substitute here.
- Wine: Dry sherry or Shaoxing wine.
- Sugar: Just a pinch, to lightly sweeten and help the dish caramelize.
Let’s Make Beef Chow Fun!
Making beef chow fun isn’t hard, but there are a few different steps involved, so I recommend looking over the recipe a few times before you get started. It’s really helpful – I would even say it’s necessary – to prep your ingredients and set them out before cooking! That way, you don’t have to measure or chop on the fly.
- Marinate the Steak. Before you begin, slice your steak and place it in a large bowl. Add the soy sauce, wine, water, sesame seed oil, and cornstarch. Toss gently to coat the steak pieces, and then set this aside for 15 minutes or so while you work with your other ingredients.
- Pre-Cook the Broccoli: While the steak marinates, bring a pot of water to boil and add the broccoli florets. Cook for three minutes, until the florets are just tender but not overly tender (or worse, mushy!). Drain the broccoli and set it aside.
- Cook the Noodles. Take a look at the package directions for your noodles, and cook them accordingly. Once they are cooked, rinse with cold water, and then toss with a tiny bit of oil to help keep them from sticking together. Set them aside.
- Cook the Steak. Heat up your wok or large skillet, with a tablespoon of oil in the bottom. Use high heat; the higher the heat, the better the beef! Once the oil is hot, add the steak pieces and cook for one minute per side. Once the steak is cooked, take it out of the wok (a slotted spoon is good for this) and set it aside on a clean plate.
- Cook the Aromatics with the Noodles. Place the wok back on the heat, and put another tablespoon of vegetable oil in it, along with a tablespoon of sesame oil. Add the ginger, and cook for about 5 seconds. Stir in the garlic, and stir-fry that for 10 seconds, followed by the onion, cooking for about 20 seconds. Finally, add the noodles to the wok and cook for about one minute.
- Finish the Stir Fry. Quickly whisk together 3 tablespoons of soy sauce with 1 tablespoon of wine, and a pinch of sugar. Add the beef to the stir-frying noodles, followed by the soy sauce mixture, and toss to combine. Last, stir in the bean sprouts, broccoli, and green onions. Toss carefully, trying not to break up the noodles, and let the stir-fry cook together for about 30 seconds. Scoop the stir-fry onto a big serving plate or into a big bowl, and serve immediately.
Check out these easy tips for a great beef stir fry. Each one will help make sure your meal is a success. Happy cooking! 🧑🍳
- Noodle Substitute: If you can’t find wide rice noodles, ordinary pad thai noodles are a good substitute. They have roughly the same flavor, just a different shape. Fettuccine will also work.
- About the Wine: Shaoxing wine is typical in Chinese stir-fries, but if you don’t have that on hand, a good dry sherry makes a great substitute!
- Slicing the Beef: To get really thin slices of beef, freeze it until it’s firm (but not frozen!) before you slice it, and use a very sharp chef’s knife. The thin slices will thaw out quickly.
For serving, you can’t go wrong with an easy takeout-style side dish or two. If you have frozen egg rolls or spring rolls that you love, feel free to bake up some of those, or make one of these easy homemade options:
- Egg Roll in a Bowl: Who doesn’t love a good egg roll with their takeout? Egg rolls can take time to make at home, but this Skillet Egg Roll in a Bowl comes together in no time, and makes a hearty, healthy side.
- Cucumber Salad: A quick Sesame Cucumber Salad adds freshness and crunch to the menu! It’s easy to make and even better to eat.
- Cabbage Slaw: Another classic, Red Cabbage and Carrot Slaw pairs perfectly with noodles and beef.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
- Leftover beef chow fun will keep in the fridge for up to four days, stored in an airtight container.
- Reheat your leftovers in a covered skillet for 4 to 5 minutes over medium heat. If the stir-fry seems dry, add a splash of water. You can also microwave it in a microwave-safe bowl for 30 seconds at a time, stirring each time.
Does Beef Chow Fun Freeze Well?
- I don’t recommend freezing beef chow fun – the noodles and other ingredients tend to lose their texture when frozen and thawed out.
- If you must freeze it, store it in a freezer bag with as much air as possible pressed out.
- Thaw in the fridge and reheat within two months of freezing.
Beef Chow Fun
- 3 cups bite-size broccoli florets
- 8 to 10 ounces wide dry rice noodles, (also known as, sa-ho fun noodles)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon sesame seed oil
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
- 3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- ½ cup thinly sliced yellow onion
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 3 green onions, sliced, white and green parts included
- 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon dry sherry or Shaoxing wine
- Pinch of granulated sugar
- Place the sliced flank steak in a larger bowl.
- To the steak, add low sodium soy sauce, dry sherry, water, sesame seed oil, and cornstarch; toss to combine. Set aside for 15 minutes.
- In the meantime, bring a pot of water to a boil; add the broccoli florets to the boiling water and cook for about 2 to 3 minutes, or until just tender. Drain, rinse, and set aside.
- Cook the noodles according to the package directions. Rinse them with cold water and then toss the noodles with a drizzle of oil to prevent them from sticking. Set aside.
- Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to a wok or a large skillet; set over high heat and heat it up.
- To the hot oil, add the steak and cook for 1 minute per side.
- Remove steak from the wok/pan.
- Return pan to the burner and heat up 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and 1 tablespoon sesame seed oil.
- Add ginger to the heated oil and cook for 5 seconds.
- Stir in the garlic and cook for 10 seconds.
- Stir in the sliced yellow onion and cook for 20 seconds.
- Add in the cooked noodles; toss around and cook for a minute.
- Make the stir fry sauce: In a small bowl whisk together 3 tablespoons soy sauce with 1 tablespoon dry sherry and a pinch of sugar.
- Add the beef to the skillet and pour in the prepared stir fry sauce; stir to combine.
- Stir in the bean sprouts, broccoli, and green onions; toss and stir, and cook for 30 seconds.
- Remove from heat; taste and adjust accordingly.
- Transfer everything to a serving plate.
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.